"No on pays attention to these killings, but the secret of the world is hidden
And there it is, on page 348. As close to an unambiguously clear statement of 2666's thesis as we're likely to get. The Part About the Crimes stretches before us like a gaping maw, and here we sit on the cusp.
My opinion of the other parts has seemed to crystallize as the horror in Santa Teresa loomed larger and larger. The Critics seem a million miles a way, which for all intents and purposes they are. Their attention never turns to the stark reality that surrounds them on their fool's errand to Mexico. One buries his nose in his reading, one dallies with a local woman (and, perhaps to his credit, does seem to have some sense of the peril she faces, though not enough), and one flees to the arms that remain in Europe.
Amalfitano seems even more ineffectual when he learn more about Rosa. Perhaps I missed it when I read his Part, but I had no sense of how beautiful she apparently is. It seems he is so lost, so disoriented that he barely even sees his own daughter. That geometry text on the clothesline, a life of the mind battered by the elements, is such an apt metaphor for him. At the end, unable to protect his daughter (or even to be able to speak with the people who surround her like a normal human being), at least he gets her out of Santa Teresa. For this we may be grateful.
I'm interested in what my fellow readers make of Oscar Fate and his trip. He seems to be drifting through a surreal and menacing tableau, but he alone actually chooses to see where he is. And he alone acts to free a potential victim from the danger she's in.
If the geometry book is a metaphor for Amalfitano, the ghastly pornographic video Fate watches at the end of this Part seems to sum up the condition of the women in Santa Teresa -- sexually violated then reduced to skeletal remains. A horrifying image to warn us of what we're about to dive into.
With that, I'm going to close on a dangerously corny note. At the risk of seeming maudlin or ridiculous (this is, after all, just a book we're reading, not any real danger we're facing), I'm glad to be reading this as part of a collective, in "real time." There's some comfort in knowing that we're all about to read this next Part together, and for those of us who haven't read it before we'll be able to commiserate in a week.
And with that... onward.